Wild Turkey at Equus

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Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:05 am

Last night I attended a Wild Turkey bourbon dinner at Equus restaurant here in Louisville. It was a great dinner featuring cocktails made with Wild Turkey by the bar manager, Joy Perrine. The guest speakers were Jimmy and Eddy Russell and they were well received by the moderately large crowd attending the dinner.

There are several things I found interesting about last night's talk by the Russell's. The first is that you could almost sense that Jimmy was passing the baton to his son. Eddy had a very large part of the verbal presentation and by the way, he is just as personable as his father and will do fine when Jimmy does finally retire. The next thing was the way that Eddy took the responsabilty for the 90 proof Russell's Reserve. His story goes that the 101 proof products are Jimmy's products and will forever be associated with his father. He wanted a product that could be his stamp on the Wild Turkey brand and that is why they changed the package and lowered the proof. He thinks the lower proof does not have the fire of 101 and still has great flavor.

Now one thing I will say is that I have been dealing with Master Distillers for 20 years or so and you have to take everything they say with a grain of salt. The fact that Eddy is saying this could be because that is the marketing position Wild Turkey wants him to take and he does want to keep his job. My personal feelings are that there is more than a grain of truth in this and Eddy does want to make a mark of his own, which is a tough job when your predecessor and father is Jimmy Russell.

I did ask Eddy a question that I was interesting. I mentioned the quote of Preston Van Winkle in here book about Julian getting to go to Paris and he gets to go to Kansas City and Jimmy was quick to point out that Eddy was in Florida last winter while he was working in Buffalo. It does seem that Jimmy treats his son better than Julian does when it comes to travel schedules!

The ended early for me. I had been out till midnight the night before and was falling asleep on my feet so to speak, so as soon as desert was served, I excused myself and said my farewells and left. It was a great diner with wonderfull food and fantastic cocktails with entertaining and informative speakers.
Mike Veach
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:35 am

I never said I believe him when he said he "prefers" the lower proof. Like I said, take a grain of salt with these public presentations. I do believe that while Eddy is around, you will see just as much resistance to the changes from the old ways as you get from Jimmy, but even Jimmy can not fight the accountants and win every battle. That is why barrel proof has inched up in the last decade and age statements were removed from 101. If it was up to Jimmy, I doubt these things would have happened. At the same time, without Jimmy at the helm we might be looking at nothing but 80 proof products made at higher distillation proof and barrel proof. That is the cheapest way to make bourbon after all.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:02 am

I think you may be reading a little too much into it here. They are getting ready to release another special bottling of a 14 years old product. It will be interesting to what proof it comes out as in the bottle. If it is 90 proof then you might have a grounds for your concerns. I think it will be at least 100 proof and most likely 101 proof.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:27 am

I don't think Eddy is trying to "out do" Jimmy but I do think he wants one of the products to have his stamp on it and that is Russell's Reserve. There is a big difference between something competitive and "out doing" someone and simply wanting something different.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby DeanSheen » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:42 pm

Mike,

Nothing was said about the 14 yr at the event? I have been wondering when that product will be announced. I'm guessing soon means we get it before Christmas?
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:45 pm

That would be my guess. They mentioned the product as an example of the father and son team goinginto the warehouses to sample whiskey together. They talked like the product is being bottled now.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby BourbonDave » Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:15 pm

I've personally never tried the beloved WTRR 101, but have had a few bottles of the new RR90. While I think it's good, it definitely serves a niche to compete with products at 90 proof, and for those that prefer lower proof bourbon. I do love WT and think that tons of flavor come out from their process and proofs.

I for one would be very dissapointed if they succumb to the lower proof/NAS trend that BT continues with. I would also be very excited to try a new product aged 14 years! I would think this would be to compete with the Antique Collection, Parker Heritage, Vintage, etc. of the bourbon world.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby independant » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:18 pm

I to have not had the pleasure of trying the WTRR101. And I agree that the WTRR90 is a very good product all be it a little pricey. That being said to hear the line that the younger Russell Eddie changed what I would consider his fathers name sake bourbon sounds a little off to me. I couldn't imagine that this was really just his decision.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby Dump Bucket » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:06 pm

the RR101 is good, but the 8yr from the 80s and 90s is better... I do like the RR101 better than any of the 12 yrs I have had though...
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:22 am

Dump Bucket wrote:I do like the RR101 better than any of the 12 yrs I have had though...

You like RR101 better than a "gold foil"??? Hmmm. :?: :?:
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby cowdery » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:31 pm

I talked to Eddy about this a couple of years ago and he said essentially the same thing then, that he wanted with the RR bourbon and rye to make something more approachable to a younger generation that is open to bourbon and rye but used to drinking spirits at lower proof. I don't recall exactly how he put it, but that was the gist.
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Re: Wild Turkey at Equus

Unread postby Dump Bucket » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:59 pm

Bourbon Joe wrote:
Dump Bucket wrote:I do like the RR101 better than any of the 12 yrs I have had though...

You like RR101 better than a "gold foil"??? Hmmm. :?: :?:
Joe


I do. I stacked them up last night (89 8yr, 03 RR101, and 89 12 yr) and the 8yr won hands down, the RR was nest and the 12 yr was third.

I have found the 12 yr Golds to be dry and lacking some depth that I expected. I had always hoped that the 12 would be everything the 8yr was but better....
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